FIRST BASKERVILLE EDITION. Large 4to, pp. , 364; A very crisp and clean copy. Occasional light spotting to margins. Contemporary calf, rebacked preserving part of the flat gilt spine decorated with floral motifs; compartments divided by greek-key gilts, red morocco label with lettering to upper section of the spine. A little rubbed on covers and worn to corners, some signs of restoration. Marbled pastedowns, a.e.g. (faded). A early manuscript note on the first flyleaf, “Coghlan – Trinity College- Cambridge”.
PALMER, Samuel. The Eclogues of Virgil. An English Version. With Illustrations by the Author.
London, published by Seeley & Company, 54 Fleet Street, 1883.
Folio, pp. xiv [ii] 102 plus 14 full-page illustrations (etchings and facsimiles of drawings), each with a facing leaf with the verse it illustrates, not included in the pagination. Title and half-title in red and black. A good copy bound in original green publisher’s cloth, title and author stamped in gilt on front cover and spine, rustic pitchfork vignette stamped in centre of front cover, uncut. A fine copy.
BURNS, Robert. Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect
Edinburgh, William Creech, 1787.
8vo, pp. xlviii, 368. Second edition. FIRST EDINBURGH EDITION, with the misprint ‘Boxburgh’ in the list of subscribers and ‘stinking’ on p. 263. Portrait, half-title, some light soiling. Contemporary calf, lightly worn, spine in compartments with contemporary red morocco label. Fine brown quarter morocco slipcase. Despite some soiling, a fine complete copy.
The initial ‘Kilmarnock Edition’ published by John Wilson of Kilmarnock on 31st July 1786. C. 600 copies at 3 shilling were sold out in just over a month of publication. Due to demand, William Creech, an eminent Scottish bookseller, published the First Edinburgh edition on 21st April 1787. Three thousand copies in all were republished. However, after the first batch had been printed, the type had to be reset due to the fact that an error had crept into the line ‘Address to a Haggis’ whereby ‘Auld Scotland wants nae skinking wave’ became ‘Auld Scotland wants nae stinking wave’ (p. 263). The first Edinburgh edition has thus become known as the ‘stinking Burns’.
On 23rd April 1787, Burns disposed of the property of his poems to Creech. In the event, Burns did not actually get paid till 30th May 1788, a matter that kept him hanging around Edinburgh many months longer than he anticipated. Nevertheless, he received a rapturous welcome in the city and a number of fine reviews of the work. ‘Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect’ are the production of a man in a low station in life which he composed ‘to amuse himself with the little creation of his own fancy, amid the toil and fatigues of labor; to transcribe the various feelings, the loves, the griefs, the hopes, the fears in his one breast . . . and man of them are elegant and pleasing . . . Such as are of the descriptive kind contain faithful and pleasing delineations of the simplicity and manners, and engaging scenes to be found in country life . . . Upon the whole, we think that our rural bard is justly entitled to the patronage and engagement which have been liberally extended towards him’. [Rev. John Logan (1748-1788) The English Review – Unsigned note, May 1782].
OVID. Metamorphoses argumentis brevioribus ex Luctatio grammatico collectis expositae, una cum vivis singularum transformationum iconibus in aes incisis.
Antwerp, Ex officina Plantiniana, Apud viduam, & Joannem Moretum, 1591.
FIRST ILLUSTRATED EDITION. Oblong 8vo, pp. 361 (xxiii), A-Z8, a8, final blank. Italic letter, some Roman, sporadic Greek. Title within elaborate engraved border divided in four sections with figurative scenes from the poem, portrait of the author and 178 full-page plates; plate number 176 (p. 357) bears the signature of the artist Pierre Van der Brocht. Printer’s device on Z5 showing God’s right hand descending from the heavens and holding a compass with motto in cartouche: “labor et constantia”. Clean tear from top towards centre of leaf to Q3, small wormholes to lower margin of final quires, no loss of text. Each leaf of the book is alternated with a blank leaf on which appears a ms. C19th English translation, or paraphrase, of Lactantius’s “argumentum”, or abstract, up to Fable IX, Book 1. In C19th half calf and marbled paper over boards, brass clasp and catch, gilt spine with title and initials “J.B.”
This 16th century Antwerp production weds Ovid’s Metamorphoses with grammatical explanations in order to teach Latin to the young. The text is an anonymous adaptation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, which was first attributed to pseudo-Donatus and then to pseudo-Lactance. In the manuscript books of the Middle Ages, it is sometimes drawn close to the Ars Minor, which was written by the grammarian Aelius Donatus. The dedication of the printer addresses two young children, Luis and Martin Perez de Baron.
Adams, O504; Belgica Typographia, 3913; BRETZIGHEIMER, Studien zu Lactantius Placidus und der Verfasser der Narrationes Fabularum Ovidianarum, 1937; Delen II, 92-93; Funck 374-375; F.W.H. HOLLSTEIN, Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts Vol. III, 100 nrs. between 200-377; Rooses, p. 263; STC Dutch, p. 164.
12mo, pp. 181 (=151) (1), † b-f12 g4. Predominantly Italic letter, some Roman. Woodcut initials and head-pieces, large d’Este coat of arms on title-page. Light age yellowing and spotting throughout, marginal dampstaining. Imprint repeated on verso of last, no date, early ms. note underneath it. In modern quarter vellum, decorative paper over boards, gilt-tooled lettering on half olive green, half red morocco label to spine. A lovely booklet in good condition.
First printed in 1584, this booklet is the second edition of Camillo Camilli’s additional five cantos, or poems, to the Gerusalemme Liberata (Jerusalem Delivered, 1581) of Torquato Tasso (1544-95). Camilli (d. 1615) was a scholar from Siena who taught letters in the Republic of Ragusa (Dalmatia). He edited a reprint of Tasso’s masterpiece in 1583 with the title of Goffredo, to which he added the present work in order to develop and conclude the love stories of the characters Armida and Rinaldo and Arminia and Tancredi. Camilli’s prefatory letter addresses his dedicatee, Matteo Senarega, who held important political offices in the Republic of Genoa, becoming doge of this maritime power in 1591. Senarega studied law in Louvain and Latin in Venice, where the famous printer Paolo Manuzio was his tutor. Camilli mentions the efforts made by the then chancellor and saviour of the Republic in order to prevent further clashes of civil war between the old nobility (the Doria, Cicala, Spinola, Di Negro, Vivaldi, Cattaneo, Lomellini, Grimaldi families) and the new nobility, whose party had seized the power in the oligarchy. Camilli praises Senarega’s diplomatic skills and tells the reader he learnt from Aldo Manuzio the Younger that the former doge retired to private life, after his successful political manoeuvres. Moreover, Manuzio told Camilli that Senarega enjoys the pleasure of reading poetry, which is the reason why the writer decided to dedicate this work of his to Senarega. Before the first canto begins, Camilli included some celebrative verses dedicated to the great poet Tasso, written by Francesco Melchiori from Oderzo.
PINDAR, Peter [pseudonym of John Wolcot].The Works of Peter Pindar, Esq.
London, Published by J. Walker and J. Harris, 1809.
12mo, four volumes, each one with a half-title, frontispiece, engraved title page and regular title page with Peter Pindar’s portrait being on the first volume. Ms. ex libris of Sir George-William Denys, Baronet, on front endpaper of each volume. Bound in a lovely gilt-ruled straight-grain red morocco (fourth volume with some worm tracking on front cover), inner dentelles, author and title to gilt spine, marbled pastedowns, a.e.g. A lovely set in a beautiful binding.
Peter Pindar was the pen name of John Wolcot (9 May 1738 – 14 January 1819), an English satirist who found that poetry paid better than his medical profession. Indeed, though trained as a physician and practising medicine, in 1780, Wolcot went to London and began writing satires. The first objects of his attentions were the members of the Royal Academy. For the historian of the fine arts the relevant items are his Lyric and Farewell Odes to the Royal Academicians for the years 1782, 1783, 1785 and 1786 (pp. 9-133), in which the painter Benjamin West and all its other leading members are unmercifully satirised, and the opening poem in his Subjects for Painters (pp. 445-506), but the poems as a whole well repay reading, particularly those that ridicule the naturalist Sir Joseph Banks, King George III’s, and the Abyssinian traveller James Bruce. Other objects of his attack were Boswell, the biographer of Samuel Johnson, Hannah More, former bluestocking and playwright, and Bishop Porteus. Wolcot had a remarkable vein of humour and wit, which, while intensely comic to persons not involved, stung its subjects to the quick. He had likewise strong intelligence, and a power of coining effective phrases. In other kinds of composition, as in some ballads he wrote, an unexpected touch of gentleness and even tenderness appears. Among these are The Beggar Man and Lord Gregory. He died at his home in Latham Place, Somers Town, London, on 14 January 1819, and was buried in a vault in the churchyard of St Paul’s, Covent Garden.
A SUMPTUOUS LARGE PAPER COPY IN A CONTEMPORARY RED MOROCCO BINDING
PINDAR. ΠΙΝΔΑΡΟΥ ΟΛΥΜΠΙΑ ΝΕΜΕΑ ΠΥΘΙΑ ΙΣΘΜΙΑ = Pindari Olympia, Nemea, Pythia, Isthmia. Una cum Latina omnium Versione Carmine Lyrico per Nicolaum Sudorium.
Oxford, E Theatro Sheldoniano, 1697.
FIRST ENGLISH EDITION of the Greek text. Folio, pp. (xxxiv) 56, 59-497 (xciii) 77 (iii). Greek, Roman and Italic letter. Double-column text, single-column commentary; exceptionally well margined. Engraved frontispiece by M. Burghers with Pindar’s portrait within an oval coat of arms placed on a wide plinth inscribed with encomiastic Greek verses; to the sides, Apollo and Hermes laying a laurel crown on the head of the poet; above, an angel plays a trumpet while holding a palm branch in his other hand. Large title-page vignette, again by Burghers, of the goddess Athena as patron of the arts with her aegis (shield with the head of Medusa) and other artistic attributes; in the background, a view of Oxford and some of its iconic buildings, among them the Sheldonian. Endpapers and a few first and final leaves very slightly browned, negligible, and not affecting the beautiful and unstained initial illustrations; a few light thumb marks and some spotting or toning. In a sumptuous nearly contemporaneous gilt-ruled red morocco over thick boards, inner dentelles, lettered spine gilt in compartments, marbled endpapers with two C19th bookplates to the front (the earliest one is of the chief commander of the Greek freemasonry linked to the Supreme Council, 33°; the other one is probably linked to the Greek island of Chios). Joints and cover edges a little worn and rubbed, corners with signs of skilled restoration. A fresh, crisp, exquisitely clean and large paper copy in an elegant binding, a.e.g.
Large paper copy of this ‘excellent edition’ regarded as dated by Brunet but patriotically supported by Lowndes. This is the first English edition of the Greek text of Pindar, edited by Richard West and Robert Welsted, both then young fellows at Magdalen College (and both of whom left Oxford shortly afterward, West for the priesthood and Welsted for medicine). Pindar’s Epinician Odes, or odes on victory, were written in honour of the victors at the four great panhellenic Games, and are accordingly grouped as Olympian, Pythian, Nemeana and Isthmian. Pindar was held in great regard in Oxford in the second half of the seventeenth century, as this edition evidences. English Pindarics were also in vogue as one can see from the popularity of Cowley’s versions (Abraham Cowley, “Pindarique Odes” in “Poems” (London, 1656)). The continental influence of Pindar can be detected in such diverse work as Galileo Galilei’s introduction to Siderus Nuncius”. The present book includes the Latin verse translation by Nicolas Le Sueur (1545-1594) along with the Greek text, plus a Latin prose paraphrase, the Greek scholia, Latin notes, a chronology of the Olympiads, multiple ‘Lives’ of Pindar, and, in a section at the end, a collection of Pindaric fragments. Dibdin calls it ‘a beautiful and celebrated edition’.
ESTC R20960; Moss II 410; Dibdin II 289; Brunet IV, 659; Lowndes V, 1868; Wing P-2245.
PINDAR.ΠΙΝΔΑΡΟΥ ΕΠΙΝΙΚΙΑ [Pindarou Epinikia]. Pindar’s Odes of Victory: the Olympian and Pythian Odes with an introduction and a translation into English verse by C.J. Billson. Embellished with wood engravings by John Farleigh.
Oxford: Printed by the Shakespeare Head Press (Stratford-upon-Avon) for Basil Blackwell, 1928.
FRIST EDITION. 4to (282 x 195 x 50mm. (11 1/16 x 7 5/8 x 2in.), two volumes: pp. 1) xxii (ii) 297 (i); 2) xxi (iii) 193 (i). Limited edition of 250 copies (this in no. 100). Greek and Roman letter, parallel Greek and English text. Several woodcut illustrations. Bound in quarter black cloth with orange paper on stiff boards. Greek and English title stamped in black on front cover with an imperial eagle. In brilliant condition, just minor rubbing to edges and corners of covers. Untrimmed, paper label bearing title to spine beneath headcaps.
“There is nothing in the whole range of literature corresponding to the Greek odes of victory, the most splendid examples of which still surviving were composed by Pindar between the years 502 and 442 B.C., during the most flourishing period of the Greeks’ history, and in the high summer of their genius.” The Olympian Odes, introduction, v. “In these complex poems, Pindar commemorates the achievement of athletes and powerful rulers against the backdrop of divine favor, human failure, heroic legend, and the moral ideals of aristocratic Greek society. Readers have long savored them for their rich poetic language and imagery, moral maxims, and vivid portrayals of sacred myths” (Harvard University Press). The present copy was superbly printed at the Shakespeare Head Press of Stratford-upon-Avon on thick paper; an outstanding bilingual production on opposing pages, displaying Charles J. Billson’s delightful English translation. The fine woodcuts by John Farleigh are stylised illustrations in the Etruscan manner.
WRIGHT, Abraham (Ed.). Delitiæ delitiarum sive Epigrammatum ex optimis quibusq[ue] hujus & novissimi seculi poetis in amplissimâ illâ Bibliothecâ Bodleiana, et penè omninò alibi extantibus, ανθολογια, in unam corollam connexa.
Oxford, Excudebat Leonardus Lichfield impensis Gulielmi Webb, 1637.
FIRST EDITION. 12mo, pp. (xvi) 247 (i), †8 A-K12 L4, first leaf blank. Roman letter, a little Italic. T-p boxed within a frame, headpieces and fretwork decorations. Ms. autograph of Charles Stonor Bodenham (1712-1764), “Esq. of Rotherwas, m. Frances Pendrill, descended from Richard Pendrill, who saved King Charles II” (B. Burke, A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain & Ireland, Vol. 1, London 1906, 11th ed., p. 154), on t-p. Small tear affecting foot of D2 and large tear to margin and centre of F5, no text loss. Light browning and age yellowing, some waterstainingon initial and final leaves, a very few ms. notes throughout. In early calf binding, gilt title on red morocco label to spine, spine and corners somewhat worn.
A Bachelor of Arts and Fellow of St. John’s College, Abraham Wright (1611-1690) published the results of his lighter reading in the Bodleian in a little volume printed by Leonard Lichfield. This book is mainly in verse and it is an anthology including poetry extracts, poems, and epigrams by various authors, from the Middle Ages to the early modern period, whose books are kept in the prestigious Oxford library. It includes an epigram on tobacco at page 218, which testifies to the novelty of tobacco smoking and chewing and the spread of its consumption at the time. During C17th, tobacco and its properties were debated all over Europe, with many supporters and as many opponents, King James I among the latter.
8vo. A-O8. 112 leaves. Italic and Roman letter. Historated initials, headpieces. Alternate prose and verses. Light thumb marks on title page, page edges a little browned, ink thumb mark on margin at foot of D4, not affecting the text, blank verso of last leaf a little soiled. Elegantly rebound in early C20th brown morocco binding in a Neo-Renaissance style by the bookbinders Birdsall & Son of Northampton with gilt double-fillet framing along cover edges, containing fleurons, and elaborate gilt oval at centre of covers. Inside gilt dentelles. Spine divided in five gilt compartments. Title to spine. A very fine, clean and crisp copy in excellent state. A.e.g.
Known as Prose della Volgar Lingua (“Discussions of the Vernacular Language”), this is the second edition of one of the most-renowned work devoted to the Italian language. It first appeared in 1525. This linguistic guide has been fundamental to the establishment of a common Italian language based on the Tuscan vernacular. Great humanist and undoubtedly skilled man of letters, Pietro Bembo (1470–1547) was a Cardinal and today he is considered one of the noble fathers of modern Italian.
“In the Prose, Bembo codified Italian orthography and grammar, essential for the establishment of a standard language, and recommended 14th-century Tuscan as the model for Italian literary language. His view, opposed by those who wanted Latin and by others who wanted a more modern Italian as the model, had triumphed by the end of the 16th century.” Encyclodaedia Britannica